A day after announcing the launch date of Chandrayaan-2, the Chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Dr K Sivan said that India will be opening a space station of its own at a press conference on Thursday.
Commenting on the space plans for India, Dr Sivan, said: “We have to sustain the Gaganyaan programme after the launch of (the) human space mission. In this context, India is planning to have its own space station.”
He added that the project will be an extension of the Gaganyaan mission.
“We are planning to have a space station for India, our own space station. We will launch a small module for microgravity experiments… That is our ambition,” he added.
The only countries that have had space stations so far are the US, Russia, China and a consortium of nations that own the International Space Station (ISS).
While India is targeting 2030 as the date to launch the 20-tonne space station, more details will emerge after ISRO’s maiden manned mission, called Gaganyaan, is complete in 2022, Dr Sivan told reporters in New Delhi.
The preliminary plan for the space station is to accommodate astronauts for up to 20 days in space, and the project will be an extension of the Gaganyaan mission, he said. It will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 400km.
The space station promises new opportunity for other spacecraft to dock as well as conduct cross-collaboration experiments – especially since after 2024, China’s Tiangong is likely to be the only crewed space station in the fray until India’s station takes to the skies.